Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Mishawaka

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Mishawaka
Courtesy of the Mishawaka

The Mishawaka was homesteaded in 1916, which makes it one of the oldest venues in Colorado. It sits 23 miles from Fort Collins, in Roosevelt National Park, nestled between the raging Poudre river and a canyon wall. It has hosted legends such as Leon Russel, George Clinton, Bela Fleck and hundreds more on its rustic stage.

Its age and location aren't the only thing that makes the Mish an interesting venue. Its a place with a remarkable, improbable story -- much of which is detailed in this week's feature. But we couldn't fit every odd fact or close call into that story, so we've also compiled a list of the highlights.

See also:The Rescue of the Mishawaka

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Mishawaka
Courtesy of the Mishawaka

It's not just for concerts:

The restaurant at the Mish is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day during the summer and for lunch and dinner the rest of the year.

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Mishawaka
Dennis Matty of hyphytek.net

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Some of the audience members are covered in fur:

Current owner Dani Grant says one of her favorite parts of the Mish is the wildlife. Big horn sheep, elk and the occasional bear occasionally perch on top of the hill across the river from the stage during concerts.

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Mishawaka
Courtesy of the Mishawaka

How it started:

Walter S. Thompson, (not to be confused with Hunter S. Thompson), a musician from Fort Collins who made his living teaching music lessons and running an instrument store, took a motorcycle ride up the dirt roads of the the Poudre Canyon and was so inspired by the area that he filled out the paperwork to homestead the land the next day.

He had no idea what it would turn into, but because of the language of the law, he had to make a profit off the land. So he started with a general store space and cabins he could rent. Soon after, it became a dance hall.

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Mishawaka
Courtesy of the Mishawaka

How it was powered:

Power lines hadn't made it up to the Poudre Canyon in the early 1900s, so Thompson created a water wheel generator, which can be seen in the picture above. Today, the stage is built on the foundation of the water wheel.

The Mishawka after completion in 1921.
The Mishawka after completion in 1921.
Courtesy of the Mishawaka

How it was named: Mishawaka is the town Thompson grew up in -- it's in north-central Indiana. It's about a third of the size of Fort Collins.



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